When could your child get the COVID vaccine? Mayo Clinic experts have the answers

Dr. Robert Jacobson from Mayo Clinic Health System in Rochester it could happen "by early fall"

LA CROSSE/ROCHESTER (WKBT) – We have a pretty good idea of the effects the COVID vaccine has on adults.

But what about children?

The child population in the United States is about 74 million.

More than 1.2 million of those children live in Wisconsin, according to the Census Bureau.

Yet most of them haven’t gotten the COVID vaccine.

“We definitely will need vaccines for children against the COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Robert Jacobson from Mayo Clinic-Rochester said.

Jacobson, who studies pediatric medicine, says Pfizer finished recruiting children ages 12 through 15 for trials this past month. The company could show safety and efficacy data to the FDA by summer.

“That might lead to us having approval to using the vaccine by early fall,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson says he hasn’t heard of any children vaccine trials pausing for safety concerns. But adds it’s possible kids could have stronger side effects to the vaccine than adults.

“These are not life threatening,” Jacobson said. “These are not leading to permanent injury.”

Children who have allergies or are immunocompromised should talk to a doctor first.

“Some immunocompromised kids can get it,” Dr. Joseph Poterucha, chair of critical care and pediatrics at Mayo Clinic-La Crosse said. “And some cannot, depending on that specific case.”

But Jacobson says the ingredients in the current vaccine won’t change for children.

“We would not allow the bridging of safety information from the adult studies to the children’s studies if the manufacturers were allowed to change the ingredients before studying in children,” Jacobson said.

Experts say herd immunity can’t be achieved without the vaccine.

“To achieve herd immunity, we need the kids,” Poterucha said.

And whenever the vaccine is available to children, it could be the true game changer to end the pandemic.

“I think the future will be much brighter once children are vaccinated,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson says Moderna is currently studying about 3,000 kids ages 12 through 17 for its vaccine.

The company expects to send data over to the FDA by mid-summer.